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The Widow's Land

Superstition and farming... a madness of daughters

by (author) John B. Lee

Black Moss Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2016
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2016
    List Price

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This is a book about superstition, life in rural Canada, and it will appeal to those who hunger for memoir, the way things were, and the curiosities of life that somehow can't be believed. Almost two hundred years ago author John B. Lee's great—great grandfather departed from Ireland for the new world with the prospect of establishing a homestead in what is now southwestern Ontario. As was the tradition the sendoff began with an American Wake, for those leaving and those left behind knew they would never see one another again. In a chapter of that title, Lee writes "They stood on those morbid piers watching the white ache of mast and cloth as they vanished west, a crow's nest lowered on the wet blue curve of that deep—water distance in an arcing line like the falling down of kites behind hills." Sometimes sad, sometimes lighthearted, but always poignant this memoir begins in the wilderness with wolves and bears and stone horses, moves quickly through the centuries to the apotheosis of the thriving tradition of the family farm and from there into the period of decline and decay where the elision of time has stolen the name from the side of the barn as letter by letter it fades and falls to ruin. An exploration of the relationship between the rational and the material world on the one hand, and the world of dream and imagination on the other, Lee's book closes with these words: I am making the world I am made from.

About the author

In 2005 John B. Lee was inducted as Poet Laureate of Brantford in perpetuity. In 2011 he was appointed Poet Laureate of Norfolk County (2011-14) and in 2015 Honourary Poet Laureate of Norfolk County for life and in 2017 he received a Canada 150 Medal from the Federal Government of Canada for “his outstanding contribution to literary development both at home and abroad.” A recipient of over eighty prestigious international awards for his writing, he is winner of the $10,000 CBC Literary Award for Poetry, the only two time recipient of the People’s Poetry Award, and 2006 winner of the inaugural Souwesto Orison Writing Award (University of Windsor). He has well-over seventy books published to date and is the editor of seven anthologies including two best-selling works: That Sign of Perfection: poems and stories on the game of hockey; and Smaller Than God: words of spiritual longing. His work has appeared internationally in over 500 publications, and has been translated into French, Spanish, Korean and Chinese. He has read his work in nations all over the world including South Africa, France, Korea, Cuba, Canada and the United States. He has received letters of praise from Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Australian Poet, Les Murray, and Senator Romeo Dallaire. Called “the greatest living poet in English,” by poet George Whipple, he lives in Port Dover, Ontario where he works as a full time author.

John B. Lee's profile page

Other titles by John B. Lee